The Africa Center hosted a special presentation delivered by Emile Ouédraogo, Minister of Security for Burkina Faso, who discussed with faculty, staff, and visitors on July 29 how his country came to adopt its community policing initiative and its ongoing commitment to it despite the program’s complexities and challenges.
Minister Ouédraogo, a graduate of the Africa Center’s 2007 “Next Generation of African Military Leaders” seminar, was recently promoted to his current assignment. He has maintained a close relationship with the Africa Center, serving as a facilitator and adjunct faculty for several academic programs.
Moderating the session was Maj. Gen. Arnold Fields, USMC (ret.), Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, a position to which he was appointed by President George W. Bush on June 12, 2008. General Fields was sworn in on July 22, 2008, and reports directly to both the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of State. General Fields served as Deputy Director of the Africa Center from 2007-2008.
Clifford H. Bernath, the Africa Center’s Director of Community Outreach and Public Affairs, welcomed the two distinguished visitors to the Center and provided closing comments. Michelle Cavalcanti, the Center’s Community Outreach Specialist for Washington, D.C., organized the event.
Entitled “Community Policing in Africa: Case Study of Burkina Faso,” Minister Ouédraogo highlighted in his talk the nation’s policing strategy and philosophy based on the notion that community interaction and support can help control crime and reduce fear. He stressed that community members can be indispensible in the overall effort to identify suspects, detain vandals, and bring problems to the attention of police.
Minister Ouédraogo pointed out that community policing can broaden the nature and number of police functions compared with traditional policing. He said community policing emphasizes organizational change and active problem solving, as well as fosters external partnerships to address issues that concern both the police and citizens.